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Ahmadis remained deprived of their rights in 2006
By Ali Waqar
LAHORE: Ahmadis continued to be murdered and attacked for their faith and discriminated against by the state and society in 2006, according to the annual Ahamdiyya community report.
One of the major incidents of the year was a riot at Jhando Sahi, Daska tehsil, Sialkot district, during which local Ahmadis were made to flee their homes by sectarian zealots in the presence of the police, who refused to restore calm on the excuse that the riot might spread to other villages, says the annual report.
Press freedom, a flagship human rights policy of the government, was selectively denied to the Ahmadiyya press, says the report. The printer and publisher of the Daily Alfazal were booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Sultan Ahmad Dogar, the printer, has been incarcerated since September 9, 2006.
“Religious extremists remained free to congregate in numbers at Rabwah and indulge in gross abusive rhetoric, but Ahmadis were not allowed to hold a single open-air community event in their own town,” says the report.
All kinds of meetings of Ahmadis in Rabwah have been banned since April 1984. They are not even allowed to organise sports events.
Three Ahmadis were murdered for their faith in 2006: Sheikh Rafiq Ahmad in Karachi on March 11, 2006; Dr Majibur Rehman Pasha, at his clinic in Sanghar on May7, 2006; and Munawar Ahmad, at his home Gujrat, on August 22, 2006.
Several Ahmadis were imprisoned in “fabricated cases”, says the report. Muhammad Iqbal was awarded life imprisonment in a “fabricated case” of blasphemy. Three Ahmadis from Chak Sikandar were arrested in September 2003 on the charge of murdering a mullah. Their appeal to the Lahore High Court has been pending for three years, and they have been kept in prison during that time. Mansoor Hussain was sentenced to life imprisonment last year for allegedly burning pages of a timeworn copy of the Holy Quran. His appeal is pending before the LHC. Three Ahmadis are imprisoned in Bahawalpur on a “fabricated charge” of blasphemy. Muhammad Tariq of Nawab Shah is in prison on a blasphemy charge for wearing a ring with a Quranic inscription.
The report says 10 Ahmadis were booked on allegations of blasphemy; 29 Ahmadis under Ahmadi-specific laws; nine under religious laws; and two “under religious considerations” in 2006.
It says Ahmadis remained deprived of participation in democratic institutions. They are excluded from the joint electorate system. They have no representation, not even in the local union council of their own town, Rabwah.
“Freedom of faith was blatantly restricted. Disinterment was enforced by the authorities to placate Islamic clerics. Attacks were carried out at Ahmadi businesses and at a graveyard. The police took no action against the perpetrators. Ahmadis also received threats to their person and families,” says the report.
“The government maintained its active support to tyranny, in that state prosecutors vigorously and successfully opposed bail applications of Ahmadis in courts. Encouraged by the government’s attitude, sitting judges like Nazir Akhtar of the Lahore High Court publicly urged the common man to kill Ahmadis on the pretext of blasphemy,” the report reads.
According to the report, 11 Ahmadis were killed for their faith in 2005, the highest total during the preceding five years of the regime. Also in 2005, the Punjab government advertised an auction of residential land in Chenab Nagar (Rabwah) to only those who were not “an Ahmadi/Qadiani/Mirzai/Lahori”.
According to an updated summary of cases from 1984 to December Dec 2005; 756 Ahmadis were booked for displaying the Kalima Tayyaba; 37 were booked for calling Azan; 404 were booked for posing as Muslims; 161 were booked for using Islamic epithets; 93 were booked for offering prayers; 602 were booked for preaching; 27 Ahmadis were booked for celebrating the Ahmadiyya centenary in 1989; 50 Ahmadis were booked for celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the eclipses of sun and moon that occurred in 1894; 22 Ahmadis were booked for allegedly burning the Quran; 909 various other cases against Ahmadis were registered on religious grounds; 229 Ahmadis were charged under blasphemy laws; and once, the entire 45,000-strong population of Rabwah was charged under Section 298-C of the Pakistan Penal Code on December 15, 1989.
According to other figures available with Daily Times, 79 Ahmadis have been killed from 1984 to December 2005; 104 were targets of attempted murder; 18 Ahmadiyya mosques were demolished; 25 mosques were sealed by the authorities; 10 mosques were set on fire; 13 mosques were forcibly occupied; the construction of 34 mosques was stopped by the authorities; 25 Ahmadis were exhumed after burial in the cemetery; and 35 burials of Ahmadis were denied in the cemetery.